What will the real estate agency of the future look like?
Like every industry in Australia, the real estate sector is facing unprecedented change. And this time, it’s being driven by the customer – not the market.
Perspective’s industry panel agree tomorrow’s success stories will be the ones who improve every aspect of the customer experience, yet how they provide that experience might be quite different.
For The Agency’s Matt Lahood, the agent journey is just as important as the customer journey. “That’s where the relationship is held, so we flipped the model to put the agent before the brand, making sure the people delivering the customer experience are in the best position to do so.”
For the other panellists, it was about creating new partnerships in adjacent areas – and using technology to allow people to focus on what they do best.
Mike McCarthy of Barry Plant said his business focuses on helping franchisees and sales people maintain their relevance and trust, by ensuring technology makes underlying processes more efficient. Its YourPorter business, which helps tenants connect utilities, is now a significant contributor to revenue.
In the face of disruption, reducing the cost to serve is imperative. It will be interesting to see how :Different’s $100 flat property management fee might re-set customer expectations for value and service.
“It’s about creating great experiences for consumers, by letting people do what they do best and letting technology do the rest,” said founder Mina Radhakrishnan.
A new perspective on skills: Open Agent employs eight engineers, :Different employs nine - and built all its tech in house.
“We want to turn property management’s hierarchical ecosystem into a flat, happy place where everyone involved trusts each other - tenants, landlords, tradies and the Property Manager.”
Chris Rolls of PieLAB said when he was building Rental Express, “what struck me – was that we were gatekeepers of billions of dollars in revenue for electricians, plumbers and smoke alarms.”
Now PieLAB’s investment fund is proactively building those opportunities in adjacent businesses and proptech.
Marta Higuera, co-founder of OpenAgent, believes disruptors have the potential to strengthen the sector by weeding out weaker performers.
Currently operating as a great lead generator for real estate agents through streamlined data capture, her platform is also piloting outsourced lead nurturing. By taking care of the pre-sales – effectively ‘cold calling and door knocking’ at scale – this allows agents to focus on the most powerful part of the customer journey: the human relationship.
And that is something all panellists agree on. “I think the agent is there to stay,” said Marta. “People are going through the biggest financial transaction of their lives. We just need to give best people the best technology to do what they do best.